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New China-UNEP Agreement to Boost South-South Cooperation on Climate Change Adaptation

By United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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NAIROBI, Kenya, May 11, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In a new high-level agreement – endorsed today in Nairobi by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner – UNEP and China agree to harness their “strengths, capacities and resources” to assist countries of the Global South combat climate change.

Since 2008, UNEP and China have collaborated with countries across Africa and Asia on climate adaptation projects with co-funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Government of China.

During the meeting, Premier Li and Mr. Steiner discussed efforts to accelerate China's transition to an inclusive Green Economy, the Premier's newly declared “war” on air pollution and the top issues on the agenda of the first-ever UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), due to be held in Nairobi, next month.

Premier Li said, “Over the years, UNEP has made tremendous efforts to further global sustainable development and environmental conservation.”

“China would like to continue to collaborate with UNEP to enhance green development and sustainable environmental management. China has contributed US $6 million to the UNEP trust fund and will continue to make contributions to that fund into the future. China also wants to enhance communication, cooperation and coordination with UNEP and multilateral environmental agreements in support of global environmental sustainability and action to combat climate change at the national and global levels.”

Mr. Steiner said, “This new agreement sends another powerful message that China is committed to combating climate change, not only within its own borders, but across the Global South – and that in doing so, it can count on UNEP's unflagging support.”

“I would like to commend China's far-thinking environmental vision under Premier Li, and its commitment to work with UNEP at the strategic level,” he added.

Mr. Steiner currently serves as Vice-Chairperson of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), of which Premier Li was the former Chair.

Although China remains the world's largest emitter of CO2, the country has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by 40-45 per cent per unit of GDP below 2005 levels by 2020 through a reduction in fossil fuel use.

China also says that it aims to cut energy consumption by more than 3.9 per cent in 2014 to strengthen energy conservation and emissions reduction – which translates to a decrease in coal consumption of 220 million tonnes, compared to last year.

A world leader in renewable energy production, China has the world's largest installed capacity of wind farms and is the leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic modules. It produces more hydroelectricity than any other country. In 2012, renewable energy investment in China stood at USD 67.7 billion, the highest in the world.